If you are inebriated and know better than to drive your vehicle home, you might decide that sleeping in your vehicle is a fine idea. It is not like every idea that comes to us after a few beers is a keeper, but this logic seems sound. You cannot be charged with a DWI when you are not actually driving, right? Unfortunately, you could actually face charges even if you are not operating a vehicle and a cop finds you inside of it drunk. You may need the assistance of a Bergen County DWI attorney even if you never planned to drive.
Can a Sleeping Person Be Charged With a DWI?
The unfortunate fact is that you can be arrested for a DWI even though you were not driving a car at the time of your arrest. That is because state law is focusing on the “operation” of the vehicle. So if you are in the car at all, you can be accused of operating the vehicle.
Getting charged with a DWI is especially likely when you are sleeping in a car with the engine running. If you decided to turn the keys in the ignition and turn on some cool air or heat to stay comfortable, the state considers this “operating a vehicle.” If you are found on the side of the highway sleeping, you can also be charged with a DWI. A cop can assume that you were driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol before you pulled over. Even if you think that you did a responsible thing, the police may see things differently and charge you with a crime.
What Are the Punishments for a DWI?
You need to take matters seriously if you have been charged with a DWI. The state is certainly taking things seriously, and the prosecution is ready to throw some severe penalties your way even if you have a clean record and this was your first time being charged. Penalties can include:
- Fines of up to $400
- The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for up to three months
- A suspension of your license
- Up to 30 days in jail
- 12 to 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
If you already have a record or another DWI charge in your background, the punishments can be even worse. So we recommend talking to a DWI defense lawyer who can help you figure out the best way to defend yourself from these charges.
Talk to an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
The punishments for a DWI charge can be harsh, so make sure that you are doing everything that you can to fight back against the prosecution’s case. Contact the Law Office of Attorney Conway today and schedule your consultation.